We need to keep our elected officials accountable.
They work for us.
Why is this important?
Congress is made up of people who were elected to represent YOU. One of the most effective ways to stand up for issues you care about, as well as policies or appointments that concern you is to call your senators and representatives and let them know. Read from a former Congress staffer on the importance of calling your lawmakers. Also this.
Who are my legislators?
Senator Jeff Merkley (D)
121 SW Salmon Street, Ste. 1400, Portland, OR 97204
Senator Ron Wyden (D)
911 NE 11th Ave., Suite 630, Portland, OR, 97232
Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D)
12725 SW Millikan Way, Suite 220, Beaverton, OR 97005
Representative Greg Walden (R)
14 N. Central Ave., Suite 112, Medford, OR 9750
Representative Earl Blumenauer (D)
911 N.E. 11th Ave, Suite 200, Portland, OR 97232
Representative Peter DeFazio (D)
125 Central Ave, Suite 350, Coos Bay, OR 97420
Representative Kurt Schrader (D)
544 Ferry Street SE, Ste 2, Salem, OR 9730
What do I talk to them about?
Here are a few topics to contact legislators about:
Reinstating and preserving voter protections
Pushing to confirm Obama’s Supreme Court nominee
Protecting the Affordable Healthcare Act
Protecting immigrants’ rights
Protecting civil liberties
How do I do this?
Here is a phone call template example from Kara Waite. More can be found here.
I’m —– —-, a constituent calling to thank Senator/Rep ____ for supporting compassionate immigration policies, and ask for continued support. I ask that <he/she> put pressure on the Trump transition team to keep the previous administration’s immigration plans in place, particularly DACA. I ask that the <he/she> publicly oppose any attempts to overturn Obama’s executive orders on immigration.
I’m —– —-, a constituent who supports compassionate immigration policies. I ask that Senator/Rep _____ urge the Trump transition team to keep the previous administration’s immigration policies in place, particularly DACA. America is a nation of immigrants. We do not close our doors on people in need.
Is it better to call or to write?
“Activists of all political stripes recommend calling legislators, not just emailing because a phone ringing off the hook is more difficult for a lawmaker to ignore than a flooded inbox… A large volume of calls on an issue could bring an office to a halt, sometimes spurring the legislator to put out a statement on his or her position.” (According to the New York Times)
Any other tips?
First-time callers often fear they will be quizzed or interrogated, but that they generally just need to offer their opinion and basic personal information, like name and city.
- Be prepared to give your name and your location. You can refer to yourself as a constituent, as per the script, and they might not ask.
- Leave a voicemail. If voicemail is full, press “0.” This will typically connect you to a receptionist who may be able to take your message or transfer you to a voicemail that isn’t full.
- Note that the operator is likely using some kind of form to mark your call, the goal is to generate a high volume of calls that require the operator to check off individual boxes. That means it’s critical to name your issues specifically and not just say something like “oppose Trump.”
- Even if you don’t speak directly to the lawmaker, staff members often pass the message along in one form or another.
- Scripts can be helpful, but try to make the phone calls as personal as possible — representatives and staffers want to hear is the individual impact of your individual story.
- As always, please be kind but firm with those staffers. They will listen and talk to you. If you run an advocacy group, invite local staffers to show up to your events. Let them talk to people you work with and set up meetings.
- The staff are the ones who run the ground game for Congress. Work on helping them understand and learn.
- If you want to talk to your rep, show up at town hall meetings. Get a huge group that they can’t ignore. Pack that place and ask questions.